Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Asian Vegetables Basket: Recipes and Tips For Coconuts

I miss having fresh coconuts and seeing coconut trees. We have them abundantly in my country. When I was a kid, my mother would make me go to a little grocery store up the street, one of those that is not kept that clean and tidy, but boy, they have everything under the sun you could think of. Most of the groceries are dry good, and things you don't have to keep in refrigerator. Coconut is one of them. You pick out the one you like, hand it to the owner or the worker, they hack it open with a long knife, and grind up the coconut meat for you. You bring it home and make it into coconut milk. If not, my mother would always open the coconuts, it's never a chore I had to do. And what do you know, now that I'm in States, I'm staring at those brown coconuts, so wanting to make fresh coconut milk, but the thought of opening it makes me nervous. Not to say, I don't have my awesome Chinese butcher knife to hack it open. (OK, the truth is, I do not have my mother here to do it.) But, thank God for Youtube.
Here is one video showing you how to open one and how to make coconut milk out from the meat. I just love this tiny Asian lady.

If the coconut water(the clear liquid you get when you open the coconut, or if you drain it first out from its eye) is not sour, you can use it to make rice. I don't remember drinking much old coconut water, we always drink mostly young coconut water (when the coconuts are still green).
The milk you get from straining the ground coconut meat, you can use it in cooking or making dessert.
Here are some curries recipes.

Tips: Use any kind of meat or vegetables you like. Bean sprout can go in there too. Eat it with the rice you cook with the clear coconut water. You can also serve this with Naan bread or Indian Prata bread, which you can get them frozen from the Indian grocecry store. If you have leftovers and are sick of eating it, make it into soup, put in chicken broth to make it thinner, and throw in any kind of rice noodles you like, or you can even use spaghetti if that is what you have on hand (but precook the spaghetti first in a put of water, if not it will soak up all the soup).

This link has some tips of how to cook tapioca:

If you don't like Asian dessert, you can always use you coconut milk to make coconut ice-cream or coconut sorbet.

If you don't want to make your coconut into coconut milk, you can always toast them. I think they will be excellent to be made into granola. 
According to this website, If you’re not going to use all the coconut, place it (either in chunks or grated) in a plastic bag and refrigerate up to 2 days. To keep fresh longer, wrap the prepared coconut in plastic and then in aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. The average coconut when grated yields about 5 cups.

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